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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Nine Mile

It’s open! It’s open! It’s open, at last!

Late this morning, our nine-mile section of I-540 opened to traffic, connecting with US 64 and completing a marathon-length stretch of highway that now reaches from I-40 near RTP and the airport, to a two-minute drive from my front door.

For wifey and me, it’s a day we’ve anticipated for quite some time. When we bought our house a year and a half ago, we picked our location for a few very specific reasons: Knightdale was much closer to the city than most of the sprawl in Cary, Apex and parts of North Raleigh; the lots were larger and the homes more affordable than comparable properties in those other areas; and, most importantly, the new US 64 bypass and I-540 extension were coming soon and would surely bring growth to the area while providing us with easy access to our most frequent destinations.

When we first moved, people we know thought Knightdale was in the middle of nowhere. Now, it’s closer than ever, and poised to become the region’s next hot spot. A huge shopping center has already popped up where 540 meets Knightdale Blvd., and it looks like several more major developments near both roads will soon be on the way.

Of course, the immediate benefit is the time it will save. Alie figures it will trim as much as half of her travel time to and from RTP each day. It’ll probably save me a few minutes by alleviating the congestion I sit in on the Beltline each morning, and will provide an alternate route for days when I know the Beltline is blocked up. On the mornings when I volunteer with Communities in Schools, 540 will save me at least 20 minutes, and it will cut the drive to Wake Forest significantly on curling league nights.

Not to mention the fact that Super Target is now less than 15 minutes away, and we can get home from the grocery store before the ice cream starts to melt.

Who knew it was possible to be this excited about a few miles of fresh pavement?

Hops & Hickory